I just finished the prototype of beta version of a new feature on our school's webpage and I post this to gather feedback from other educators. This feature is a tool I call the Digital Backpack. Click this image to open the digital backpack:
The development of this feature is meant to solve or at least address a few problems I have observed. First, the major impetus for this was the frustration I have begun to feel seeing staff overwhelmed and sometimes confused after I had demonstrated too many different online applications for them. The Digital Backpack is first and foremost an attempt to cluster these tools in one place.
The second purpose for this feature is to illustrate how the majority of our computing needs can be delivered with free online applications by organizing them all in one space. I feel this tool will be nice for transitioning between single user apps and web apps. The drive here is to encourage teachers to have their students use these tools because they are cross platform and most of the programs themselves foster and encourage collaboration.
The third purpose for this tool is instructional. After an assessment of student use of technology it became apparent that digital literacy skills such as evaluating web content or performing search for credible information was lacking. This tool, through brief descriptions after each link, puts this information right out there in front of the student so when doing a web search they can make an informed decision as to which search engine to use. The tools for evaluating these sources will also be here in future versions.
If you like you can link to this tool for your own website. What I am looking for here though is feedback. What online apps/resources have I missed that should be here? What issues do you have using it? How effective do you think this is?